Mirror Lake (Yosemite National Park)

Mirror Lake is one of the more spectacular hikes in Yosemite Valley. It is situated towards the end of Yosemite Valley mostly below Half Dome. Yosemite National Park is a great hiking destination. It is absolutely beautiful and has some of the most breathtaking scenery on Earth.

Directions to Trailhead: The National Park Website has great trail descriptions of Day Hikes in Yosemite National Park. Here is a link to that Page of the National Park's Website. To get to the trailhead for Mirror Lake you are going want to use the parks shuttle system. The trailhead begins at shuttle stop #17. A Google map of the area is provided below. Click, Here to find the National Parks System Map for Yosemite Valley. The national parks map shows where shuttle stop #17 is and provides a good vantage point for where this hike begins. We have also provided a Google map below. Parking: Because the park's free shuttle buses stop at the trailhead, you can park anyplace in the valley where you can catch a bus. Curry Village is the closest to the trailhead of the parking lots that have bus stops. A slightly closer but bus free option is the trailhead parking lot, just past Curry Village, down a road marked "Service Vehicles Only". (It's not service vehicles only until you pass the parking lot.)

Description of Hike: From the shuttle stop, a paved trail leads directly to Mirror Lake. At the stone bridge, you can turn right to take the five-mile loop or remain on the paved trail to continue to Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake has little water in it much of the year, but in spring and early summer it can grow in size. When the water is calm, the lake offers beautiful reflections of surrounding cliffs. Exhibits along the trail detail the story of the area's lake-to-meadow succession. This can be a great hike to spot wildlife, so be ready with your camera. The trail is well maintained and is well marked. Parts of the trail are paved and other portions are dirt. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen with you on this hike.

Further Thoughts: Being at Mirror Lake is spectacular. Even though it is a place that is packed with visitors during the summer months, it is still amazing to be Yosemite Valley.  You are surrounded by monoliths of rock and granite that are thousands of feet high. This trail allows you to get very close to the base of Half Dome, whose reflection you see in Mirror Lake. It was just great to be out and be able to enjoy Yosemite Valley. While we were on our hike was saw a huge gopher snake. We also saw people swimming in the river. However, the water is very cold since it is fresh snow melt. This is a great hike for everyone to do as it is not too strenuous.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 100 ft. (Easy), Distance: 2.4 Miles round trip from the trailhead to Mirror Lake; 4 Miles Roundtrip to go all the way to the end of the trail in Tenaya Canyon and loop around. If you are hiking from Curry Village instead of riding the bus to the trailhead, add an extra 1.5 Miles Roundtrip.

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours.


August 2006 (This Post)

February 2010 (Winter)


Bridalveil Fall

Half Dome

Mirror Lake (This Post)

Mist Trail

Yosemite Falls

View Mirror Lake in a larger map


  1. We saw two bears at sunset walking to the shuttle stop from Mirror Lake. They were about 50 yards from us. They paused, took a quick look, then padded off towards the campground. It was an amazing experience!! This was in late June 2011.


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